Abstract

Centrifugal compressors can suffer from rotordynamic instability. While individual components (e.g., seals, shrouds) have been previously investigated, an integrated experimental or analytical study at the compressor system level is scarce. For the first time, non-axisymmetric pressure distributions in a statically eccentric shrouded centrifugal compressor with eye-labyrinth seals have been measured for various eccentricities. From the pressure measurements, direct and cross-coupled stiffness coefficients in the shrouded centrifugal compressor have been determined. Thus, the contributions of the pressure perturbations in the shroud cavity and labyrinth seals have been simultaneously investigated. The cross-coupled stiffness coefficients in the shroud and labyrinth seals are both positive and one order of magnitude larger than the direct stiffness coefficients. Furthermore, in the tested compressor, contrary to the common assumption, the cross-coupled stiffness in the shroud is 2.5 times larger than that in the labyrinth seals. Thus, the shroud contributes more to rotordynamic instability than the eye-labyrinth seals.

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